my name is Claudio, I’m italian, and I am … 4 months older than Jonathan Coe.
I’ve discovered Jonathan by chance ten years ago, with "What a carve up!", "La famiglia Winshaw".
Afterwards I’ve read almost all his novels, and as probably the major part of the readers, I was really impressed by "La casa del sonno".
Now, some years after, I’ve just finished Maxwell Sim, and once more I’m really impressed by the elegance of Jonathan as a story writer (sorry for my english …).
Every time I read in your novels the description of the thoughts and actions of your characters, I wonder how much autobiography is present there, and more in general which is the source of your inspiration for the characters and the stories.
Thank you for writing so beaufitul novels, and for the idea of the Message Board !
It’s really hard to answer the question about inspiration and autobiography. There is a little bit of autobiography in all of my books. Most of all in The Rotters’ Club, of course, but lots of details from my early life in the Midlands also recur in What a Carve Up, Maxwell Sim, The Accidental Woman, even The Rain Before it Falls. Perhaps I should move on and write something completely different, but every time I think I’m going to do that, something draws me back to the same times and the same places.
Meanwhile I think travelling is becoming a more important source of inspiration for me. Maxwell Sim began with ideas that came to me on a trip to Australia, and more recently I found myself inspired by visits to Puglia in Italy, and Peleliu in Micronesia. But I don’t know yet what I’m going to do with these new ideas.
Thanks again for your post, and keep visiting the message board!